Flavorite have revolutionised the tomato business in Australia. The Nichol and Millis families have ensured that after 45 years, you can now buy top quality, juicy red tomatoes all year round wherever you travel in Australia. With the support of a dedicated network of growers and a few other stalwarts from the Hydroponic Farmers Federation they have taken a cottage industry to a major supermarket category – but they NEVER compromised their idea – to supply regularly, consistently, great tasting red juicy tomatoes, full of flavour, all year round.
The testament to the success of their achievements is the substantial investment taking place in the industry under corporate banners. The business is being ably propelled forward in the capable hands of Warren’s sons, Mike and Cameron, and Mark’s sons, Will and Chris.
Mark had spent 22 years marketing bananas when in 1994 he joined his old time market partner Warren Nichol to grow tomatoes at Warragul. Warren had spent a lifetime marketing fresh fruit when 3,000sq metres of tomatoes were planted at Warragul in Victoria. The business has grown to 190,000 sq metres of production area to date.
Flavorite’s investment in greenhouse technology places them firmly at the forefront of growers worldwide as they adapt to new growing techniques. All new greenhouses include hanging gutters (which Flavorite introduced into Australia) and incorporate a hot water buffer system which enables CO2 to be pumped into the greenhouse, enhancing plant and fruit growth.
The use of refined automatic computer technology to control irrigation and the greenhouse environment has allowed Flavorite to attain world standard levels of production. Now that the new picking trolleys are in use and the packing line has been automated, Flavorite is on target to become Australia’s most cost efficient grower.
Flavorite holds water conservation as a very high priority in our business. Currently our efficient irrigation system only used 23 litres of water to produce one kilogram of tomatoes. Comparatively, a field grower would need 60 litres of water to produce the same result. Flavorite has invested in UV water sterilisation to allow re-use of waste water. By reusing this recycled water our usage will drop from 23 litres to a meagre 18 litres to produce 1kg of tomatoes – a substantial saving.
We have continued to develop our grower network throughout the east coast states of Australia. These growers encompass some 20ha of greenhouses and allow a continuous supply of high quality fruit all year round. With fresh tomatoes supplied daily into each major capital city, our growers benefit from trading under Australia’s Premium Tomato Brand – Flavorite – part of a Strategic Marketing Plan.
Flavorite has also led the industry into grafted seedlings – a major leap forward in production levels. This substantial investment in innovative grafting chambers holds much promise for the future.
Flavorite is a quality business focussed on delivering a premium product. We have developed the systems for sustainable agriculture, strongly biased towards biological growing with low (OR ZERO) pesticide use. Flavorite use natural enemies (insect predators) to control pests. This approach is called integrated pest management, which means using living organisms as control agents.
Bio-control is becoming a popular tool for integrated pest management – a global trend using effective but environmentally friendly methods to reduce reliance on pesticides and give producers more options for safe, cost effective and sustainable outcomes in growing the food that we eat. Integrated Pest Management (IPM) research is part of the Flavorite mandate to promote innovation for growth, maintain security of the food system and protect the health of the environment.
Our state of the art water recycling system sterilises and recirculates our water. This, combined with the ability to control the humidity, leads to limited evaporation. Nutrient rich water is delivered directly to the plants root, a process that uses far less water than outdoor grown crops per kg.
Our plants are grown in an inert growing medium, rock wool, meaning there is no depletion of soil nutrients or any soil erosion.
Protected cropping yields 60 times more product than outdoor-grown crop and utilises far less water per kg. The higher yields and different growing techniques means far less land is required for growing. And as we plant in the same area each season, there’s no need to clear more land to find nutrients rich soil or let fields “rest” for a season.
Plants need CO2 to grow in the process of photosynthesis. We recycle carbon dioxide (CO2), a by-product of the very efficient heat boilers used to keep the plants warm, which is then pumped back into the greenhouse where the plants convert the CO2 into starch to promote maximum growth and achieve a significant reduction in our carbon emissions.
Flavorite is constantly reviewing our product to ensure we deliver a consistently red, juicy and tasty tomato to our customer. Find out how we grow our tomatoes.
Food safety has always been of upmost importance for Flavorite. We are proud to be leading the greenhouse industry in adopting the Safe Quality Food (SQF) program. SQF is a program recognised by retailers and foodservice providers around the world who require a rigorous, credible food safety management system. Monitoring and recording agricultural issues such as site selection; adjacent land use; fertiliser usage; water sourcing and usage; pest control and pesticide monitoring; climate control operations, and harvesting practices, including worker hygiene, packaging storage, site sanitation and product transportation. Flavorite’s dedication to food safety assurance and environmental sustainability shows in the quality produce we grow.